Monday, 29 November 2010

Greenwich Council criticised by tenants watchdog

Greenwich Council have been criticised by a tenants watchdog for failing to properly communicate with residents being evicted from the Ferrier Estate.

In a letter to the Council and FRAG, The Tenant Services Authority commented that:

"we feel that any uncertainties and distress for tenants that have arisen could have been mitigated by earlier and clearer communication and action [from Greenwich Council]"

Housing association Southern Housing Group were also criticised for "serious administrative errors" which resulted in "incorrect and inconsistent" information being issued to tenants.

The correspondence seen by the Kite reveals that Greenwich Council have "accelerated" their eviction process in the last year as a result of funding pressures.

According to the TSA:

"LBG has acknowledged to us that it has accelerated the decant programme in the period since June 2010, in line with a cabinet decision to complete the decanting of the estate by October 2011.  The decision reflected the council’s concerns about the implications for health, safety of those residents remaining in occupation of increasingly empty vacant blocks.  It also took into consideration the cost of maintaining adequate services to the estate and its diminishing population within the wider economic background."

The TSA judged that Greenwich Council had not breached any regulations but added that there were "important lessons to be learnt from this experience."

They have told the council to review their eviction plans and to draw up a "clear timetable" of evictions in consultation with residents.

Of the 31 tenants currently being taken to court, the TSA state that any attempt to recover court costs from them would constitute a "disappointing failure" on Greenwich Council's part.

Last week the leader of Greenwich Council responded to the report by saying that they have been "too tolerant" of residents.

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